Planet Rugby

Preview: Saracens v Edinburgh

18th January 2013 08:19

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Netani Talei

Returning: Netani Talei

Netani Talei starts in the only change to the Edinburgh side for Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Saracens.

Talei's selection means David Denton begins the match on the bench, where he is joined by Lee Jones, whose welcome return from injury (ribs) completes the changes to the 23-man squad.

The reselection of the entire starting back division and remainder of the pack is a vote of confidence in the side who were beaten 26-17 by Munster at Murrayfield in the previous round.

"The boys showed real grit and determination against Munster and, while we earned the rewards late in the match, they showed elements of the controlled, territorial performance that we're looking to deliver in these big games," said Edinburgh head coach, Michael Bradley.

"Tactically I think they played some smart rugby and this reselection is another chance for them to up their game once more and tighten up the elements which follow, like increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of our set-piece and our composure in attack.

"Saracens have shown that they are one of the top team teams in Europe at controlling matches and keeping cool under pressure, so this will be a fantastic test for us as we seek to end this season's campaign with a win."

Meanwhile, Pool leaders Saracens have made three changes to the side that beat Racing.

Prop Mako Vunipola, second-row George Kruis and fly-half Charlie Hodgson all come into the starting line-up. That means Rhys Gill, Mouritz Botha and Joel Tomkins all revert to the bench with last week's star performer, Owen Farrell, switching to outside centre.

Botha will make his 100th appearance for Saracens should he take to the field for what is the club's final game at Vicarage Road ahead of their move to new home Allianz Park.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Joel Tomkins, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Dimitri Basilaia, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 David Denton, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Lee Jones.

Date: Sunday, 20 January
Venue: Vicarage Road
Kick-off: 12:45 GMT
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Sébastien Cloute (France), Jérôme Lamirand (France)
Television match official: Jean-Marie Piraveau (France)

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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
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5Wasps411